Whoever is running life’s clock has a sadistic sense of timing. It’s taken me over five years to finish Life on All Fours. There is nothing efficient about collaborating with a dog. Rufus provided the inspiration for this book but he insisted on showing and that takes so much more time than telling. The completion of Life on All Fours is a testament to those projects that you stick with even through all the “Are you serious, you're still are working on it?” that make you feel lazy and incompetent. As I approached the publishing process I wanted to celebrate with a new photo for the book’s biography page, Rufus and me—the happy, industrious, and competent writing team. Two days before the photo shoot, Rufus died.
Even though he’s nine weeks dead, it feels like I just left him lying on that aluminum table; his last heart beat as palpable as the air being pushed through my congested nostrils right now. I thought I was doing better but this feeling came careening into my carefully constructed mourning this morning. I was picking out a shirt to wear and there it sat on the closet shelf, like the enticing song of a Siren—the bright green t-shirt I had on when I carried Rufus into the pet hospital—the last piece of clothing to touch the breathing Rufus. I followed the music and held the shirt to my nose, inhaled, crashing again into the devastation that is death. It hasn't been washed but has long forgotten his smell.
The t-shirt is designed by one of my sister’s friends and reads, “Release, flow, give thanks, let go.” On the morning of June 17, 2014 with no idea that six hours later I’d be saying my last good-bye to my best friend, I got dressed. Nine weeks later—release and flow (mucus and tears mostly), I want to hate this t-shirt because I’m not ready to give thanks or let go but I can’t help but love the hope that waits patiently for me; like Rufus waiting at the front door for me to follow. The truth is that grief is messy business and the only way forward is lots of Kleenex.
Five days before his death
June 12, 2014, Buena Vista Park, San Francisco.
Daily Bites and Blessings
Welcome to "Daily Bites and Blessings." Pull up a chair. I’ve set a place for you at the table. These edibles are sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet and often they are both. This is a come as you are party. I invite you to bring your compassion, courage, and curiosity as we dine together on life's bounty. May our time together give us more light and more love.